Testing options for recruitment

Posted: 29th December 2012

Testing options for recruitment

Recent estimates suggest that nearly 70% of organisations in the UK now use some form of psychometric testing in their recruitment. There are tests available to test every facet of a candidate’s skills, ability, aptitude and personality. Here’s a short summary of the available options:

Personality and motivation
Personality profiling and motivation questionnaires provide recruitment panels with a deeper view of a candidate’s preferred working style and what motivates them at work. Attitude and motivation is increasingly being seen as more important for job success than core ability or experience. These profiles enable the panel to gain a greater understanding of a candidate’s longer term personality and suitability for a role (including cultural fit), rather than the (sometimes) highly polished approach that is presented at interview.

Ability tests come in a variety of shapes and sizes. At executive level they typically focus on providing a robust assessment of a candidate’s core ability in an area such as verbal (i.e. evaluation of written information) or numerical reasoning (i.e. numerical data such as budgets, statistics etc.). Ability tests are also available to assess other areas such as IT or other job specific skills.

Aptitude/inductive reasoning
These tests include the presentation of abstract information or concepts, with the aim of assessing whether a candidate is able to spot trends in unfamiliar information or find solutions to difficult problems. Designed to assess a candidate’s general intelligence or aptitude for learning, they provide a strong indication of how well a candidate can think analytically/conceptually and provide an indication of how quickly they can adapt to new situations. These tests are well suited for roles that deal with a wide range of complex information and where post holders continuously need to learn and adapt.

Bespoke tests provide an alternative method of assessment to the psychometric tests described above. The main advantage is that bespoke tests are tailored to the requirements of the role, increasing the validity of their use for that specific post. Carefully designed bespoke tests can also include the assessment of a range of different areas e.g. a candidate’s decision making, numerical calculation, report writing skills as well as technical/professional knowledge. Recently we have developed bespoke tests to assess areas such as strategic thinking, risk management, financial awareness, prioritisation etc.

Hints on using testing in recruitment
The array of tests available can sometimes bewilder. When considering using tests in recruitment, be careful to keep in mind:

What the purpose of the test is. Will it add value to your decision-making process?
What are the key requirements of the role, and does the test assess them?
What does ‘good’ performance on a test look like and how does that link to actual performance in the role?
Don’t just discard the results after an appointment has been made, they provide valuable information that can be used to help develop the successful appointee.

Also – make sure you keep the needs of your candidates in mind. Don’t try to test too much in one process and make sure you provide feedback.

Michael Appleby is qualified to carry out recruitment testing. To find out more, please call Michael on 07545 314 749 michael.appleby@altairltd.co.uk

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